Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Quote of the Day

Jim Winter, at Edged in Blue
Print is not the buggy whip of the 21st century. The ebook is the paperback of the 21st century. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you will understand the future of publishing.

5 comments:

John McFetridge said...

Yes. Thank you.

Joe Konrath said...

Sorry, no.

Ebooks are a new technology, about to replace an old one.

Paperbacks never replaced anything. They just made things cheaper.

John McFetridge said...

Are you sure e-books won't be just another way to read books? They don't have to replace anything.

There are still LPs out there, new ones, even.

And some people may not be able to afford e-readers, but they might still have a couple of bucks for a cheap paperback. Some publishers may continue to print them.

eviljwinter said...

Sorry, Joe, no.

Ebooks are a new format. Your analysis overlooks one glaring drawback:

Anything electronic is not permanent. Print will shrink. No doubt about it. It will not disappear. You mistake content for technology.

Again, allow me to point out that a substantial number of teens don't read ebooks. That number will get smaller, but you're confusing the content with the format.

It's not like music, despite what a few fanatics say about vinyl (and conveniently forgetting some of us aren't all that nostalgic for snap, crackle, and pop. At least without milk, sugar, and toast.) Words and sound are not the same.

Embrace the new technology, yes. In fact, I agree with you that DRM is a self-defeating idea. But don't kid yourself that this is Gutenberg all over again. All he did was mass produce what was being done already for 5000 years, give or take.

JD Rhoades said...

And, I'd submit, e-books aren't anywhere near to becoming more than a niche market as long as the readers are over $250.00.

The iPod caught fire because people were willing to shell relatively large sums of money out for it. And they were willing to do that because the iPod did things no other device could do: store a huge quantity of music, skip-free, and play it back under almost any conditions.

A Kindle is nice, but it's not essential becuase, so far, it doesn't do that much that a book can't. People may like having 100+ books on the kindle, but they don't need it, because they don't read more than one at a time.

Another difference is that there are a lot of cheap mp3 players out there. there aren't ANY cheap e-book readers. Right now, the Kindle's a luxury item.

Will the Kindle get down below 100 bucks? Maybe. It would be a smart idea. But that doesn't seem to be the Amazon strategy. They seem to be more oriented towards making the Kindle essential by trying to drive paper books out of the market, at which point they can charge what they want because you'll need to go to Amazon to be able to read.

Joe, I hope your vision of e-books replacing print entirely (as opposed to becoming another format) doesn't come true. Because that puts us at the mercy of whoever makes the reader or whoever owns the proprietary e-book format.